Addis Ababa March 21/2017 Ethiopians in the Diaspora have continued to render commendable contributions in the nation’s political, diplomatic and financial activities including the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
All Ethiopians including Diaspora and citizens of Ethiopian origin in different part of the world, warmly welcomed the launching of the construction of the dam, Diaspora Engagement Affairs Director-General at the Ministry, Demeke Atnafu told ENA.
He added that they considered their participation in the development programs of the nation as the source of their pride, identity and self assurance as citizens.
According to the director, almost all Ethiopians living abroad converged around the construction of the dam by casting aside all the differences they have among themselves.
“It was for the first time when the Ethiopians living abroad from all walks of the life, professionals, religious leaders, business man, elders, artists, all over Ethiopians come together in order to shoulder their responsibly collectively”. Whenever they are living, residing, they establish GERD support committee” he said.
Ethiopians in the Diaspora established GERD’s support committees in North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia and Middle East, Demeke said.
“By organizing such kinds of workshops, discussion forums, and conference, the Diaspora has provided considerable diplomatic support in promoting the project among the international community”, he said.
Even at individual level, private Diaspora members, through using different media including social media tried to promote the dam, he added.
In terms of finance, to date, Diaspora has contributed more than 420 million USD, out of which 47 percent of this share is the bond bought by Ethiopian living in the Middle East countries, while the balance by Ethiopians living in different parts of Africa, North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, it was learned.
Ethiopians living abroad mainly in Europe, UK and other parts of the world also came together and formed an organization called ‘Ethiopian International Professional Support for Abbay (EIPSA)’ in 2013, in response to the timely need for an organized and independent professional Ethiopian voice surrounding the issue of the Nile River.
In order to further enhance the contribution of the Diaspora in terms of finance, the Ministry is working with the Office for the Coordination of Public Participation on the Construction of GERD.
“We are now in the process of developing, designing strategy to look at rather than in how always selling the bond; we are now looking at exploring other means of fund raising activities. One is which we have already agreed with the council is to introduce the Tombola system, especially the housing Tombola peculiarly designed for Diaspora”, he said.
Forty-four Ethiopian missions abroad have already designed and developed a strategy on how to celebrate the 6th anniversary of the GERD, in which its construction has reached 56 percent, in special way.
The construction of the GERD was launched by the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in 2011 with plan to construct a dam with a capacity of 5250 MW, now it is upgraded to 6450 MW